NEWCOMER Moustapha Arafat can't wait to team up with 'big brother' Charles Mammie in a bid to bring UAAP glory to University of the East.
After completing his residency, the 6-7 Cameroonian is set to make his UAAP debut alongside Mammie, UE’s other import from Sierra Leone who will be playing in his second year in the collegiate league.
The 21-year-old Arafat said Mammie, a teammate since their Team B days, has been a big help to his game.
“Charles is my big brother,” Arafat said. “He has helped me so much. He, Roi Sumang, and my teammates, they have been helping me so much because this is my first year in the UAAP.”
The feeling is mutual according to Mammie, who will have to share time with Arafat under UAAP rules that bar foreigners from playing at the same time.
But Mammie doesn’t mind.
“We are good,” Mammie said. “I’m going to back him up. He’ll back me up. We have good chemistry and we get better everyday."
UE coach Derrick Pumaren is excited to having both Mammie and Arafat, saying the two bring versatility to the Red Warriors owing to their contrasting games.
While Mammie is primarily an inside operator, Arafat is more comfortable playing in the wings.
“Charles is more of an inside player. Arafat can play inside and outside. That’s the advantage that we have in Arafat. He has a decent shot, he is very quick and athletic. He will give us a different look,” said Pumaren.
UE makes its season debut on Saturday against University of the Philippines - an opportunity Arafat said he has been waiting for for a long time.
“I was excited even last year. I’m really happy because I really want to play. I have to help my team,” said Arafat. “Actually, my position is to close the gap for my teammates and help Charles. That’s what I can do.”
Mammie has encountered disciplinary problems with former UE coach Boycie Zamar but appears to be more at ease with Pumaren, who he said has been a 'father figure' to the team.
“Coach is a father figure to us. He is a nice guy. We are good,” said Mammie.